Looking for a "ground floor" book collecting opportunity?
Perhaps you should consider collecting English-language Islamic fiction.
As we pointed out in our 2010 series on Arabic literature, the Islamic literary tradition has, until recently, been primarily poetic. (Arabic literature and Islamic literature are not the same thing, although the Qur'an has influenced Arabic literature as much as the King James Bible has influenced "Western" literature.)
Islam itself is partly responsible for the dearth of Islamic fiction.
Just as Christianity is not monolithic, so does Islam encompass a great variety of traditions and individual practices. One tradition of Islam, for example, has long rejected publication of any type of fiction as haraam (prohibited) because all fiction is considered to be a form of lying. Another tradition holds that while fiction is not strictly haraam, it is a waste of time (i.e., we have better things to do with our brief lives on earth than read fiction). Another tradition, however, holds that
...[i]f it is made perfectly clear that this did not really happen, and that the story is being told just to give an example, then there is nothing wrong with that, but one should be careful to ensure that the style, contents and goal are beneficial and that the story helps to explain something about Islam and serves as a[n] effective means of teaching and guiding people....
This last is especially important. For a book to qualify as Islamic fiction (cf. Christian fiction counterparts such as rapture fiction and bonnet books), it must necessarily reflect the precepts of Islam. This underpinning does not have to be overt:
Aya or hadith don’t have to be quoted or referenced, but the character(s) in the story will be shown to be behaving Islamically or may have to make a decision and will choose based on an Islamic practice and/or belief. The author will not include sexual content, vulgarity, or include content that is untrue or negative about Islam. If the author includes content about a book character doing something unIslamic, in the story the author will show that conduct as unIslamic. The author doesn’t need to have a billboard or red flag waving to do this. It is all about the showing not the preaching and telling....
Understandably, much of the English-language Islamic fiction that has been published to date has been aimed at the juvenile market. Islam often is foreign to children of Muslim parents who live in "the West," just as Judaism often is foreign to children of Jewish parents (cf. the celebration of Christmas to the exclusion of other holidays). Islamic fiction is an attempt to connect such children with their religious heritage in a positive and "modern" way.
Although Islamic fiction currently is not recognized by the Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) coding system, the Islamic Writers Alliance (IWA) is working diligently to change this. Given how easy it is to demonize people whose languages we don't understand, whose values and beliefs we (often mistakenly believe) we do not share, one can only hope that IWA's efforts bear fruit sooner rather than later.
This list will help you start collecting such fiction, should you be interested....